Programmed Decision and Non-Programmed Decision Explained

Programmed Decision & Non-Programmed Decision ExplainedProgrammed decision and Non-Programmed decision are the two basic types of decisions that managers makes. This depend on their authority, responsibility and position in organizational decision making structure.

Definition, similarities and differences of Programmed Decision and Non-Programmed Decision are explained below;

Programmed Decision

Programmed decisions are those that are traditionally made using standard operating procedures or other well-defined methods. These are routines that deal with frequently occurring situations, such as requests for leaves of absence by employees.

In routine situations, it is usually much more desirable for managers to use programmed decision than to make a new decision for each similar situation.

In programmed decisions managers make a real decision only once, when the program is created. Subsequently, the program itself specifies procedures to follow when similar circumstances arise.

The creation of these routines results in the formulation of rules, procedures and policies.

Programmed decisions do not necessarily remain confined to simple issues, such as vacation policies or similar such things; they are also used to deal with very complex issues, such as the types of tests that a doctor needs to conduct before performing a major surgery on a patient with diabetes.

To summarize; programmed decisions features are;

  • Programmed decisions made using standard operating procedures.
  • Deals with frequently occurring situations. (Such as requests for leaves of absence by employees)
  • Much more appropriate for managers to use programmed decision for similar and frequent situations.
  • In programmed decisions managers make a real decision only once and program itself specifies procedures to follow when similar circumstances arise.
  • Leads to formulation of rules, procedures and policies.

Non-Programmed Decision

Non-programmed decisions are unique. They are often ill-structured, one-shot decisions. Traditionally they have been handled by techniques such as judgment, intuition and creativity.

More recently decision makers have turned to heuristic problem-solving approaches in which logic; common sense and trial and error are used to deal with problems that are too large or too complex to be solved through quantitative or computerized approaches.

In fact, many management training programs on decision-making are designed to help managers think through problems using a logical, non-programmed approach. In this way they learn how to deal with extraordinary, unexpected, and unique problems.

Non-programmed decision features are;

  • Situations for Non-programmed decisions are unique, ill-structured.
  • Non-programmed decisions are one-shot decisions.
  • Handled by techniques such as judgment, intuition and creativity.
  • Logical approach to deal with extraordinary, unexpected, and unique problems.
  • Managers take heuristic problem-solving approaches in which logic; common sense and trial and error are used.

Similarities of Programmed Decision & Non-Programmed Decision

  • Both are Required to run operations of Business efficiently.
  • Complements each other in setting goals and managing resources of organization.

Differences of Programmed Decision & Non-Programmed Decision

Programmed Decision

Non-Programmed Decision

Used for frequent situations of organization; both internal and external.Used for unique and ill-structured situations of organization; both internal and external.
Mostly Lower level managers are making these decisions.Mostly Upper level managers are making these decisions.
Follows structured and non-creative patterns.Takes an out side of the box unstructured, logical and creative approach.

Programmed decisions usually relate to structured problems while non-programmed decisions are taken to solve unstructured problems.

It is also to be noted that the programmed decisions are taken at the lowest level whereas the non-programmed decisions are taken at the highest level of organization hierarchy.